3721.031 Investigation of complaint concerning home - disclosure of information.

(A) The director of health may investigate any complaint the director receives concerning a home.

(1) Except as required by court order, as necessary for the administration or enforcement of any statute relating to homes, or as provided in division (C) of this section, the director and any employee of the department of health shall not release any of the following information without the permission of the individual or of the individual's legal representative:

(a) The identity of any patient or resident;

(b) The identity of any individual who submits a complaint about a home;

(c) The identity of any individual who provides the director with information about a home and has requested confidentiality;

(d) Any information that reasonably would tend to disclose the identity of any individual described in division (A)(1)(a) to (c) of this section.

(2) An agency or individual to whom the director is required, by court order or for the administration or enforcement of a statute relating to homes, to release information described in division (A)(1) of this section shall not release the information without the permission of the individual who would be or would reasonably tend to be identified, or of the individual's legal representative, unless the agency or individual is required to release it by division (C) of this section, by court order, or for the administration or enforcement of a statute relating to homes.

(B) Except as provided in division (C) of this section, any record that identifies an individual described in division (A)(1)(a) to (c) of this section or that reasonably would tend to identify such an individual is not a public record for the purposes of section 149.43 of the Revised Code, and is not subject to inspection and copying under section 1347.08 of the Revised Code.

(C) If the director, or an agency or individual to whom the director is required by court order or for administration or enforcement of a statute relating to homes to release information described in division (A)(1) of this section, uses information in any administrative or judicial proceeding against a home that reasonably would tend to identify an individual described in division (A)(1)(a) to (c) of this section, the director, agency, or individual shall disclose that information to the home. However, the director, agency, or individual shall not disclose information that directly identifies an individual described in divisions (A)(1)(a) to (c) of this section, unless the individual is to testify in the proceedings.

(D) No person shall knowingly register a false complaint about a home with the director, or knowingly swear or affirm the truth of a false complaint, when the complaint is made for the purpose of incriminating another.

(E) An individual who in good faith submits a complaint under this section or any other provision of the Revised Code regarding a violation of this chapter, or participates in any investigation, administrative proceeding, or judicial proceeding resulting from the complaint, has the full protection against retaliatory action provided by sections 4113.51 to 4113.53 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 04-10-2001